An entrepreneur who has opened a new business in Andover says that the town is “up and coming” for business.

Paul Hedges opened Speciality Coffee on the High Street at the weekend, with hundreds of people attending the launch. Having spent over 20 years supplying coffee shops, he decided to take the plunge and run his own.

“I’ve been supplying my own brand of milk, St Ives Barista Milk, to coffee shops for over two decades in Winchester and London,” he said. “I thought it was about time I opened my own shop, as I’ve had enough time here!”

The new shop is at 78 High Street, in one of the units formerly occupied by iconic Andover business Harvey’s. The building has been redecorated along Scandinavian lines as part of its refurbishment.

“A lot of coffee shops are going for a wood-strip natural look now,” Paul said, “which is Swedish inspired.”

Speciality Coffee launched on Saturday, August 14, with the ribbon cut by St Mary’s councillor Iris Andersen.

She said: “There are a lot of closed shops in town and so to know people are opening new businesses is great. People are socialising out of their home more now, and spending more time in coffee shops. They’re using them for work and for pleasure.”

The opening was attended by Dhan Tamang, who specialises in latte artwork. The six time UK Latte Art Champion was present as hundreds of customers came in to have free cups of coffee from the business.

“The opening went really well,” Paul said, “and we had some great feedback. There were constantly people coming in, and we must have had 300 or so in that day.”

The business currently serves teas and coffees, as well as a selection of cakes and pastries. However, from next week, Speciality Coffee will start serving food to customers when its kitchen opens.

“There will be plenty of food coming soon,” Paul said. “There will be pastries, cakes, sandwiches, and toasties being served.”

The shop also serves non-humans as well, being a dog-friendly venue.